Drinking Water Advisories

Current Reality

As of May 28, 2022, 29 First Nations communities across Canada are working to resolve 34 long-term drinking water advisories. In total, First Nations communities have lifted 132 long-term drinking water advisories. Progress is as follows:

Drinking Water Advisory Update
Date of Govt. Advisory Current # of Long-Term Advisories Communities still impacted # of Long-Term Advisories Lifted % completed
April 25, 2022 33 28 132 80%
Mar. 21, 2022 34 29 131 79%
Feb. 24, 2022 36 29 128 78%
Jan. 25, 2022 36 29 127 78%
Jan. 7, 2022 37 29 126 77%
Dec. 9, 2021 42 30 120 74%
Oct. 25, 2021 43 31 119 73.4%
Aug. 28, 2021 51 32 109 68%
Mar. 31, 2021 54 34 105
Dec. 23, 2020 58 40 98

Drinking Water Class Action Lawsuit
Dec. 23, 2021: APTN – Yesterday, the Federal Court and the Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba issued a joint decision approving an agreement to settle class-action litigation related to safe drinking water in First Nations communities. An appeals period of approximately 60 days will follow the courts’ approval of the settlement agreement. The class-action lawsuits could see approximately 142,000 individuals from 258 First Nations compensated, along with 120 First Nations.
July 31, 2021: Toronto Star – Tataskweyak Cree Nation, Curve Lake First Nation and Neskantaga First Nation (1995), together with the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, announced that an historic Agreement in Principle has been reached…to resolve national class action litigation related to safe drinking water in First Nations communities. The agreement includes the following:

  • $1.5 billion in compensation for individuals deprived of clean drinking water;
  • the creation of a $400 million First Nation Economic and Cultural Restoration Fund;
  • a renewed commitment to Canada’s Action Plan for the lifting of all long-term drinking water advisories;
  • the creation of a First Nations Advisory Committee on Safe Drinking Water;
  • support for First Nations to develop their own safe drinking water by-laws and initiatives;
  • a commitment of at least $6 billion to support reliable access to safe drinking water on reserve;
    planned modernization of Canada’s First Nations drinking water legislation.

The class included all members of First Nations whose communities were subject to a drinking water advisory for a year or longer from Nov. 8, 1996, to now. (Toronto Star, July 31, 2021)

May 5, 2021: Global News – An auditor general report on access to safe drinking water in First Nations (Report 3 “Access to Safe Drinking Water in First Nations Communities— Indigenous Services Canada” released on Feb. 21, 2021 estimates that the federal government would not be able to eliminate all long-term drinking water advisories in First Nations until 2023-24 and that it would take until 2025-26 to ensure long-term solutions for a stable drinking water supply in some of the affected nations.

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